Skin Color & Beauty

Many fashion and beauty ads lighten the skin of darker women before printing.

Around the world there has been a correlation with skin color when it comes to beauty.  Colonization and slavery of various racial groups led to the belief of one skin color dominating another.  This is a thought that has continued long after slavery was abolished in many nations.  Many cultures believed that very pale skin was more attractive because it meant you were wealthy and did not have to work outside in the field or on a farm.  That standard of beauty has transcended through time and there are still many who believe that lighter skin is better.

In some countries like India and Ghana, skin-bleaching creams are the best-selling beauty products among women.  In 2008 the skin-whitening business earned and estimated $43 Billion.  I have spoken to Indian women who have said that when it comes to marriage, a man usually looks for a woman with fair skin.  Even in many Bollywood films you will notice that the leading ladies usually are lighter skinned.  In Hollywood it is rare to see a dark-skinned Black woman in a leading role of a mainstream film.  Angela Bassett is one of the rare few who have been given this opportunity when she starred as Tina Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to do With It.  For the most part Black actresses like Halle Berry, whose skin is fair, are given leading roles that appeal to a mainstream audience.

Why is that?

Skin Bleaching cream advertisment

Japanese and Chinese women have also been known to use lighter makeup and creams to make their faces appear lighter.  It’s often referred to as a porcelain look.  Many Asian women aspire for this complexion and spend a fortune on products to obtain it.

The white skin some Asian women aspire to have

In the Black community there has long been a complex regarding skin color.  Lighter skinned women have been preferred and sought after as more beautiful.  In fact there have been Black men who have stated they prefer light skin women.  There are some who actually have stated they didn’t think dark-skinned women were attractive.  As a dark-skinned woman myself, I have often been told by men that I am ‘pretty for a dark girl‘.

The ‘pretty for a dark girl’ statement is perhaps one of the most twisted comments I have heard.  I believe that the men who have said this actually think it is a complement.  But really it’s like saying dark people are not attractive so, I was lucky that despite being dark I am pretty.  It’s just ridiculous.

Multiple Skin tones among Blacks still is a source of tension when it comes to beauty and acceptance.

There is a new documentary that addresses the issue of Dark Skin and self-esteem among Black women.  See the video preview by CLICKING HERE.  In the film some of the women are very candid about their experiences and pain felt due to this complex issue.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are Caucasians who see an olive tone of skin as more attractive and sign of health and beauty.  That’s why every summer we see women bathing in the sun aspiring for that golden tanned glow.  Even during the winter months women flock to the Tanning Salons to pay for darker skin.  Beauty products like self-tanners and bronzers are also popular products to help women get that darker skin.

Despite skin cancer risks, Sun-tanning is still very popular.

This is one issue that is very complex, deeply rooted and will likely not go away.  It’s not easy to change the way people think when it’s been part of the psyche for decades and even centuries.

I believe everyone has beauty in them regardless of what the color of skin may be.  Every human being was made to be who they are and I think there is beauty in us embracing all and loving all.  Once we can do that, we will see the change.  If we don’t, it will remain the same.

What are your thoughts on this issue?



One thought on “Skin Color & Beauty

  1. Pingback: Nina Davuluri becomes First Indian to Win Miss America | See Inner Beauty

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